Letters Concering Some Supernatural Disturbances at My Father's House: Letters X and XI

Letter X.

Dear Sam,

As for the noises, etc., in our family, I thank God we are now all quiet. There were some surprising circumstances in that affair. Your mother has not written you a third part of it. When I see you here, you shall see the whole account which I wrote down. It would make a glorious penny book for Jack Dunton, but while I live, I am not ambitious for anything of that nature. I think that's all, but blessings, from your loving father,

Sam Wesley.

The following letter I received at the same time, though it has no date:-

Letter XI.

Dear Brother,

I thank you for your last, and shall give you what satisfaction is in my power concerning what has happened in our family. I am so far from being superstitious that I was too much inclined to infidelity, so that I heartily rejoice at having such an opportunity of convincing myself past doubt or scruple of the existence of some beings beside those we see. A whole month was sufficient to convince anybody of the reality of the thing, and to try all ways of discovering any trick, had it been possible for any such to have been used. I shall only tell you what I myself heard, And leave the rest to others.
My sisters in the paper chamber had heard noises and told me of them, but I did not much believe, till one night, about a week after the first groans were heard, which was the beginning, just after the clock had struck ten I went downstairs to lock the doors, which I always do. Scarce had I got up the best stairs when I heard the noise like a person throwing down a vast coal in the middle of the fore kitchen, and all the splinters seemed to fly about from it. I was not much frighted, but went to my sister Suky, and we together went all over the low rooms, but there was nothing out of order.
Our dog was fast asleep, and our only cat in the other end of the house. No sooner was I got upstairs, and undressing for bed, but I heard a noise among many bottles that stand under the best stairs, just like the throwing of a great stone among them, which had broke them all to pieces. This made me hasten to bed; but my sister Hetty, who sits always to wait on my father going to bed, was still sitting on the lowest step on the garret stairs, the door being shut at her back, when soon after there came down the stairs behind her something like a man, in a loose nightgown trailing after him, which made her fly rather than run to me in the nursery.
All this time we never told our father of it, but soon after we did. He smiled and gave no answer, but was more careful than usual, from that time, to see us in bed, imagining it to be some of us young women, that sat up late and made a noise. His incredulity, and especially his imputing it to us, or our lovers, made me, I own, desirous of its continuance till he was convinced. As for my mother, she firmly believed it to be rats, and sent for a horn to blow them away. I laughed to think how wisely they were employed, who were striving half a day to fright away Jeffery, for that name I gave it, with a horn.
But whatever it was, I perceived it could be made angry. For from that time it was so outrageous, there was no quiet for us after ten at night. I heard frequently, between ten and eleven, something like the quick winding up of a jack at the corner of the room by my bed's head, just like the running of the wheels and the creaking of the iron-work. This was the common signal of its coming. Then it would knock on the floor three times, then at my sister's bed head, in the same room, almost always three together, and then stay. The sound was hollow and loud, so as none of us could ever imitate.
It would answer to my mother if she stamped on the floor and bid it. It would knock when I was putting the children to bed, just under me where I sat. One time little Kesy, pretending to scare Patty as I was undressing them, stamped with her foot on the floor, and immediately it answered with three knocks, just in the same place. It was more loud and fierce if anyone said it was rats or anything natural.
I could tell you abundance more of it, but the rest will write, and therefore it would be needless. I was not much frighted at first, and very little at last; but it was never near me, except two or three times, and never followed me, as it did my sister Hetty. I have been with her when it has knocked under her, and when she has removed has followed, and still kept just under her feet, which was enough to terrify a stouter person.
If you would know my opinion of the reason of this, I shall briefly tell you. I believe it to be witchcraft, for these reasons. About a year since there was a disturbance at a town near us that was undoubtedly witches, and if so near, why may they not reach us? Then my father had for several Sundays before its coming preached warmly against those that are called cunning men, which our people are given to; and it had a particular spite at my father.
Besides something was thrice Seen. The first time by me that was discernible. The same creature was sat by the dining-room fire one evening; when our man went into the room, it run by him, through the hall under the stairs. He followed with a candle and searched, but it was departed. The last time he saw it in the kitchen like a white rabbit, which seems likely to be some witch; and I do so really believe it to be one, that I would venture to fire a pistol at it if I saw it long enough. It has been heard by me and others since December. I have filled up all my room, and have only time to tell you I am your loving sister,

Emilia Wesley.

Click on the title to read the full story.

No comments: